Gum tempera and gold on paper
Painting: 21.2 x 15.8 cm (8 3/8 x 6 1/4 in.); Overall: 26.8 x 19.4 cm (10 9/16 x 7 5/8 in.)
Edward L. Whittemore Fund 1953.357
Rama and Lakshmana wield divine bows in their fight against the ten-headed demon Ravana.
Against the dark green and foreboding landscape, the final and much-anticipated battle between the demon king Ravana and the mighty princes Rama and Lakshmana unfolds. Ravana wields twenty weapons, including a poisonous snake in his front left hand. The blue Rama aims an enchanted crescent-shaped arrow at bees emitted from the donkey head at the apex of Ravana’s ten crowns. The arrow and bees stand for powerful mantras, or magical incantations, that can destroy one’s enemies. The impending defeat of Ravana will fulfill the purpose of Vishnu’s incarnation as Rama.
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